A TEIENDLY YOICE
NATIONS OF GERMANY:
AND OTHER POEMS.
BY JAMES NISBET.
PRINTED BY W. ANGLEIS, 18, BRIDGE STREET.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
CAPTAIN ROBERT STUART,
OF THE ROYAL NAVY,
THIS VOLUJME IS DEDICATED,
WITH SENTIMENTS OF
FRIENDSHIP AND ESTEEM,
BY THE AUTHOR.
A FRIENDLY VOICE FROM THE AVON'S BANKS
NATIONS OF GERMANY.
A change is in the sky — the golden ray.
That woo'd us from our home, hath past away ;
And see the dense clouds gathering on yon hill !
Over Saint Vincent's Rocks the shadow grows,
In deeper gloom the turbid Avon flows —
And yet on Avon's banks we linger still ;
And yet we linger, though all bare and brown
The Earth lies withering in November s frown.
And the leaves, falling round us, seem to say,
" What beauty is there left, that thus your steps delay ? "
Our steps delay, for Music round us floats
On all the echoes ! Now, in liquid notes,
Mournful and sweet — now, with a warlike swell,
The bugle and the fife — the trumpet-blast —
And the loud clarion ringing out at last !
Voice of another land ! I know thee well —
'Twas far beyond the sea — 'twas where the sun
Shone bright on sword and spear and gonfalon,
And marshaird thousands, on Westphalia's plains,
I heard, in happy hour, those high fantastic strains.
Then welcome be the breeze, though rude, that brings
Such music and such memories on its wings —
Then let the clouds with angry menace sweep !
Tis not for me to shrink, on whose wild path
Full many a storm hath sounded in its wrath.
On hill and dale, and on the foaming deep ;
'Tis not for me to shrink while on mine ear
That Swabian measure falls, so sweetly clear !
I lose the Avon with its sombre woods,
I dream of brighter skies, of more majestic floods.
Oh, in our inmost hearts we bear them still.
Those days of sunny life, when at our will
We wander'd through the realms of wide Almayne ;
That poet land, with its high-crested towers.
And lone deep woods, in whose luxuriant bowers
The Fairies might renew their frolic reign !
That kindly land, where the old Courtesy
Still greets ye with her blessing, blithe and free ;
And simple Faith leaves o'er the beaten way
The purple fruits to hang in all their bright display !
IVe seen the Elbe^ with its tumultuous wave.
Fast pouring through the mighty plain that gave
Our Saxon fathers their primeval home ;
Which still to us, of Albion's shore, appears
Scarce alien by the lapse of countless years ;
For ever and anon, as there ye roam.
Some accent falls upon your ear that seems
Familiar as a voice of Childhood's dreams ;
Some object strikes the eye, in which ye trace
The spirit and the form of a congenial race.
I've sail'd upon the Rhine, when all serene
Its ciystal deeps were in their beauty seen —
Clearest and noblest of a thousand streams,
No lifeless landscape were thy banks to me !
The mantle of the proud old Chivalry
Still, to the poet, on thy castles gleams ;
To him, along thy rocks, in mystic light.
High deeds of arms seem flashing ever bright ;
And echoes, as of battles scarce yet o'er.
Float on thy rushing flood, along thy sounding shore !
I've seen the glorious Danube at his birth.
Like a young giant springing from the earth.
In silvery light, 'mid soft embowering trees ;
I've seen him bravely bounding on his course.
Where gleam'd his waters, in their gather'd force.
With many a white sail swelling to the breeze :
And may he thus forever roll his tide
To the far Euxine — in triumphal pride,
With gay barks glittering, and the grateful voice
Of Commerce piping loud — till all his lands rejoice !
And stray 'd we not by the rough mountain floods.
In savage glens, in lowering solitudes ?
And still a radiance of stern joy we found —
Amid the shadowy pines and rocks and caves
Of the deep Mourgdale, where the torrent raves
Like a dark Spirit in the Desert bound ;
Or where on Brenner's cliffs, so bare and lone.
The vulture's cry hath an unearthly tone ;
Or where the Watzmann on the King's Lake throws.
From his huge granite walls, a shade like Death's repose !
And spent we not glad hoars in many a vale
Of green delight ? Did not the day-beam fail
Too soon — before our eyes could drink their fill
Of beauty — in the fleeting lights and shades —
The blue streams glittering in their breezy glades —
The hoary woods — the towers that crown'd the hill
With their lone ruins ? And the evening fell
On our sooth'd spirits with a softer spell,
When some grave peasant told what strife had been.
What horror and what death — where all now slept serene !
Ay, 'tis a country o'er which War hath roll'd,
Too oft, his wheels in carnage ! Ye behold,
Hung o'er your path, upon each rocky steep.
Bulwark and tower all shattered by his rage —
The mouldering relics of a barbarous age !
Yet was the green Earth startled from her sleep
By a worse shock — when, in a later day.
He came with thunder and with lightning sway ;
As if its aweful bolts Heaven had resign'd.
In wrath, to guilty Man — that he might blast his kind !
Alas ! for on those well-known fields I've stood ;
And I have fancied that the hue of blood
Still darken'd in their pastures, rich and deep —
Scenes ever mournful ! Though on some there streams
The light of Glory with its loveliest beams.
Yet more there be o'er which Almayne must weep :
For often, when the war-cry on the air
Burst like a storm — no foreign foe was there ;
A Fury on the land her vials pour'd.
And Germans bled and died by fratricidal sword.
Discord her name: — Heaven, with its blackest frown,
Sends to a sinful world no worse plague down !
The whole wide Empire 'neath her sway was riven ;
Till the plough slumbered in the sunniest plains,
And good men sigh'd o'er their polluted fanes.
And many a lightsome hearth to ruin given ;
And ever, as the desolation swept
More widely round — the more that Misery wept.
Crouching in dust and ashes — still the more
The soldier's heart grew stern, and hardened to the core !
Yes, they were brethren — but forgot all ties
Of sacred law and natural sympathies —
Forgot the very blood that in their veins
Flow'd from a parent fountain : yea, the steel
They stay not, though their mother-tongue appeal —
The vanquished at their feet no mercy gains :
Forgot the days of yore, when, side by side.
With emulous arms they stemm'd the battle-tide ;
Forgot the trophies of their martial fame —
Arminius ! in the grave thou might'st have wept for shame !
And heard I not a whisper, faint and low,
Sent forth by Fiends who joy in human woe —
A mystic sound, the world's repose to mar ?
Or did some idle fancy blot the page,
To stir the humours of a listless age —
Some unscarr'd votary of the God of War ?
I know not : but even now, on Avon's shore,
A rumour past that in Almayne, once more,
Dissension, waking to her serpent life
In the warm sun of Peace, prepared her fangs for strife.
Spirit of Falsehood ! from the Iser's fountains
To the far limits of the Giant Mountains —
From Glockner s peaks, cold glittering to the Morn,
To the red walls of Juliers and the verge
Of Friesland, trembling to the Boreal surge —
There breathes not one, of German blood true-born.
Who would relume those hateful strifes of old !
Or, if there be — a slave to foreign gold,
Hired to his own perdition — may he reap
The curses God and Man shall on such baseness heap !
Ever it blew, — the subtle blast that fanned
Those fires deep-smouldering, — from a foreign strand ;
And lo ! when half the realm was wrapt in flame.
In that convulsive hour, to seize his prey.
With clashing arms amidst the dire dismay.
And with a whirlwind's rage, the Stranger came !
Around his path there hangs a heavier cloud
Than that of Night : from its involving shroud
The shrill shriek rises, and the feeble moan.
And the departing wail mounts to the Judgment Throne.
Thus did the Neckar's banks grow waste and wild !
Thus was the " Garden-Land" with blood defiled —
The innocent blood, tender in sex, in years,
Flow'd there — but oh ! repeat not thou the tale.
Lest it be borne upon the listening gale.
And the good Angels that in th' upper spheres
Watch over mortal sorrows, weep anew ;
And men of savage mood and sombre hue.
In isles that burn beneath another sun.
Deem their own sternest deeds in cruelty outdone !
These, Discord, were thy fruits ! Nor these alone —
Behold the fetters of ihe Stranger thrown
Over fair cities and o'er wide domains :
Temple, and shrine, and tower, to heaven up-piled,
On which a nation had for ages toiled.
That still the pride of ancient Art sustains ;
Yea, many a province from the Empire torn,
That evil hour the Germans well might mourn
When the fierce turmoil of their feuds thus laid
The weeping Fatherland bare to the foeman's blade.
What did they when united ? Thou may'st read
Of high success, of many a glorious deed.
Till thy heart swells and kindles with the theme ;
Since first athwart the Alps their iron ranks
Tamed the proud Queen upon the Tiber's banks.
That Mistress of the World so long supreme ;
Till Saxon Otho flung o'er Italy
The chains of conquest to the Tyrrhene Sea,
And, all unrivall'd in his wide career.
Stern Barbarossa shook the Eastern world with fear.
What did they when united ? Leave the page
With all its records bright of many an age —
Recall the contest of no distant years.
When, spurning a presumptuous Despot's yoke,
Germania with a righteous wrath awoke !
Her sons lay cold on their untimely biers —
They died to glut an ever-grasping Pride ;
And long had angry Heaven its smiles denied
To her divided banners ; yet once more
She rous'd her with the soul, if not the strength, of yore !
" War ! War ! " the Mother cried — her children all
From the four winds, came rushing at that call :
Ever the first the patriot flame to feel.
Sovereigns and princes in the van ye find.
True sons of Hermann and of Witikind !
Ever the first amidst the clash of steel,
Against the stubborn Gaul they lead their bands.
From Styrian glens, through Pomeranian sands ;
The march, the storm, the thunder of the fight.
Braving with equal front — they battled for the right !
" To arms ! " and, grasping his ancestral band,
To break the bondage of the Fatherland,
Hurries the noble from his halls of state ;
" To arms ! to arms ! " the burghers quit their towns ;
The peasant from his ruin'd cottage frowns,
On those remorseless foes, eternal hate !
Nor marvel that the Prussian burst controul —
Insult and wrong had stung him to the soul ;
Such wrong, such insult, as the grovelling slave
Of passions base and foul pours on the hapless brave !
And oh forget not those, whose eyes lent light
To cheer the warfare in its blackest night —
Mothers and daughters of heroic men !
How bravely sped they, though with sighs and tears.
Their best and dearest to the strife of spears !
The soldier well might fight and conquer then —
That farewell blessing, like a holy charm,
ThrilFd ever in his breast and nerv'd his arm :
And if, amidst her Country's woes, had broke
One high and generous heart — yet from her grave She spoke!
Then, bursting from the spells of classic lore,
Uprose the Studious — ^burning to restore,
Let come what may, the glory of their sires !
From the still chamber and the midnight lamp.
Snatching their swords, to the tumultuous camp.
To the broad greensward and the dim watch-fires ;
With high-strung hearts, if with unpractis'd hands,
Headlong they dash upon the hostile bands ;
They dash on, reckless of the battery's blaze,
And dare the gaping death, ev'n to their foes' amaze.
Who is the Foe ? The crown'd of many fields !
And potent is the sceptre that he wields
From sun-bright Adria to the Northern Main ;
And though the cautious Swede hath cross'd the wave.
And the Russ aids thee with his valorous glaive,
Thine, Germany ! thine is the heavier strain
With which the nations must for freedom toil ;
Wide spreads the war upon thy wasted soil —
Thy sons must strive as men have seldom striven.
Ere from thy writhing breast the Vulture can be driven !
But to the field, day after day, they rush'd ;
Day after day, the blood of brave men gush'd ;
The streams grew crimson — yea, the very deeps
Of Elbe and Elster darken'd in their hue ;
Yet still the gathering clouds of battle drew
From stormy Bautzen and Bohemian steeps
Near and more near — till, Leipsic's plains around.
As with a line of bursting thunder bound.
The strife came on, at last, of sulphurous gloom.
In which an empire finds its glory or its tomb !
How long shall this endure ? The loaded air
Broods o'er the country like a black Despair —
Earth rings with sounds that tell how thousands die !
Yet — who hath conquered ? Either camp, outworn.
Sinks with the night, nor heeds the voice of Morn :
All day they rest — ev'n where their comrades lie
In death around them, myriads seek in sleep
Strength for a scene of carnage yet more deep !
The third dawn rudely breaks on their repose —
The struggle hath begun, that not with night shall close !
It hangs upon my soul, in shadows dire —
It hangs upon my soul, in gloom and fire.
That feverish vision of a world contending !
Death in those rolling vapours blasts my sight,
Death bursts upon me in each glare of light :
Yet ever, with the battle's whirlwind blending.
And piercing through its thunder-tones, I hear
The shrill command — the shout — the onward cheer ;
Still swells the war-cry to a sterner mood,
And wilder masses plunge into that sea of blood.
But now the Nations of Almayne, combined.
Pour to the charge as with one heart and mind —
What chieftain, or what phalanx, can oppose ?
What strength of earthly power ? Not he — not he,
That overweening Child of Destiny !
Fast roll his wheels — yon lurid vapour shows
Where wend his legions, in disordered haste,
O'er swollen floods and o'er a burning waste ;
And erelong, shrinking fr om the cannon's roar.
See him beyond that Rhine which he shall cross no more !
Joy to Germania ! for the worst is past —
Joy to Germania ! she may breathe at last,
The deadly weight is from her bosom thrown !
Now let her cities, in October nights.
Shine with the glory of a thousand lights —
The Rhine is gain'd, and Freedom is her own !
Now let her music of the olden time
Fill all the land with its magnificent chime ;
Let bright eyes beam, and softer voices swell.
To hail their glad return, who bore their swords so well
But first, within the fane, low bend thy knee —
Heaven sends defeat — 'tis Heaven sends victory —
In storm, in sunshine, own the Hand Divine !
Beneath the fury of th' Oppressor proud
Hast thou, O Teuton-land ! been darkly bowed ?
Then Wrath Supreme fell, with no doubtful sign.
On thy blood-stain'd divisions ! Wear'st thou now
Joy, like a garland, on thy radiant brow ?
Yet praise the Light that pierced the battle-showers,
i\n(l see God's blessing shed on thine united powers !
Thy dead lie thick — and in what mingled heaps !
Lo, with its bright locks all encrimson'd, sleeps
On the cold clay the still fair brow of Youth ;
There, Manhood, blasted in its strength and pride —
Here the stout heart of Age hath sternly died —
Yet all alike in Loyalty's high truth
Met they their fate : — Oh lay them to their rest
'Neath the green sod that suits the soldier best.
Or where War's banner in thy temples waves,
And sing a holy dirge, but weep not, o'er their graves !
Weep not for them ! In conscious duty strong,
Careless as summer floods, they pour'd along —
Weep not for them ! The cause in which they fell.
Though many a dire and bloody tempest past,
Hath triumph'd on Lutetia's towers at last ;
The Gallic flood roU'd backward in its swell.
And bound within its banks — while, with her wreath
Of honour brightening on each field of death,
Almayne resumes her state in rich content —
Oh, weep for them no more — their lives were nobly spent !
The deadly fight is finish'd : I behold
Your ensigns on the Seine's proud banks unroll'd,
Victorious leaders of Confederate arms !
Now have ye o'er that ruthless Foe prevaiFd,
That Foe like tiger in his lair assail'd.
Ever most furious in his last alarms :
The deadly fight is finish'd ! May it swell
Your hearts with joy, of these dread scenes to tell ;
In your own lands, in bowers of calm delight,
To tell how in the breach ye fought and won the fight !
Yes, ye may well rejoice — and not alone
Over a Foe of giant might o'erthrown —
Rejoice that the old friendship blooms once more !
Those holy ties of Fatherland that bound
The sires of yore, now have the children found
The secret of their triumph. 'Midst the roar
Of the contested field that friendship grew ;
The blood of foemen was its nursing dew,
And Victory's sunbeams have matured the flower.
That now is rooted deep — whatever storms may lower !
Right welcome was the day when Peace return'd
To the vex'd Earth ! Had not the battle burn'd
From Andalusia's groves, all dyed with gore,
To where burst Moscow's fires upon the night,
Startling the proudest with a pale affright ?
Had not the nations risen on every shore.
And England spread her strength o'er land and sea.
To free the world from that fierce Tyranny ?
Heaven smiled upon their zeal, and sent repose
To Europe's panting realms, outworn with many woes !
England ! though ever in the struggle first.
No tempest on thy shelter'd vales had burst —
Ay, and what ages, since the Stranger blew
A hostile blast within our Island's bound.
Have o'er these green shores roll'd in calm profound I
Heaven-guarded, War's worst ills we scarcely knew ;
The thunders of the conflict on our ear
Came like faint echoes from another sphere.
Half lost in shouts of triumph, and the blood
Sank in a distant soil, or in the boundless flood.
But o'er Almayne had swept that direful blight :
And thrice, thrice welcome, Peace ! She walks in light.
She pours forth blessings like the morning dews ;
And soon all-bounteous Nature hath concealed
The wreck and ravage of each fatal field,
With robes of thicker woof and richer hues ;
And now, where cold steel glitter d, ye may see
Maidens and youths in innocent jubilee ;
And melody and joy rise sweet to Heaven,
Where by th' artillery's crash the shuddering air was riven !
And now Germania looks on levelFd walls.
On loftier temples, and Corinthian halls.
Which royal bounty labours to adorn ;
With smiling brow she sees the many rove
Through gardens fair as those Armida's love
Bedeck'd, to please her captive knight forlorn ;
And princely hearts have given the crowd to gaze
On the high pictured dreams, of olden days.
That shine upon the canvass still sublime.
As if with borrowed light from Heaven's enraptur'd clime !
happy land ! Monarchs who led the way,
With headlong valour, in the battle-fray,
Now with their wisdom heal the social frame ;
They bid Abundance pile her sheaves on high,
They bid the Arts bloom 'neath a cloudy sky.
Till the South trembles for her ancient fame ;
And Science, at their nod, hath wing'd her flight
O'er the wide earth : yea, from the starry Night,
With ardent gaze, she would draw lustre down
And fix its wandering beams in old Germania's crown.
Such are the days of Peace and Concord — dear
To all the holier Charities that cheer
Our dim existence with inspiring beams ;
Dear to Benevolence, and to Faith, heaven-born.
That braves in darksome deserts toil and scorn,
To link in harmony the Earth's extremes ;
Dear to the loftiest souls that dust hath known.
As to the Angels round th' Eternal Throne,
Who still with joy the brightening world behold
Under that blessed reign, on Bethlem's plains foretold.
And this long season hath been given to thee,
" Land of the Danube and the Baltic Sea,"
To heal thy deep wounds as with balm divine ?
And crown'd and princely chiefs to thee have still
Work'd out the mercies of th' Almighty Will,
Till in the world no second rank is thine ? —
All strength is from on High ! All pmise to Heaven !
All honour to the sceptres God hath given —
To that wide Galaxy of Power, whose light
Is brilliant now in peace, as in the rolling fight !
O happy land ! blooming so bright and fair,
Whilst others pine for visions of the air,
Or plunge in whirlpools of perpetual change —
Still stand thou fast among the nations round,
Thou for thy loyalty of old renown'd.
Nor driven by tempests from thy path to range —
Stand fast ! Prosperity her purple wings
Waves o'er thee ; and the fierce imaginings
Of envious foes, against thy welfare, fall
Vain as the showers of Spring on Ehrenbreitstein's wall !
Stand fast — nor reck thou of that ruthless horde
Who, ev'n in days like these, would draw the sword —
Earth shall they drench no more with blood and crime :
Nor the blind worshippers of glory past,
Of that false Caesar for his guilt down cast.
Though proudly did he revel for a time ;
Nor the base souls, who, in their hate malign
Of all whom Heaven hath o'er them given to shine.
Pant for a dark-red deluge that may sweep
High minds and honour d names alike unto the deep !
They pant — they rage — in vain ! The better light
That fills the world, is fatal to their might ;
And thou not vainly, in tempestuous hours.
Didst pour thy kindred legions on the field,
That taught the haughtiest of the earth to yield :
For, all serene in thy harmonious powers.
Thou standest now, in more than ancient pride,
Like to a rock high raised above the tide ;
And hurricanes that shake each neighbouring shore,
Rave round thy mighty mass but with an idle roar.
Yet let thy Nations oft those days recall,
When, like sworn brothers, fought they 'gainst the Gaul
Across the Rhine, and won their laurel crowns ;
Field after field, till bright before their eyes
The towers of Paris rose — their destin'd prize !
Austria was there, who, scorning Fortune's frowns.
With untamed courage had so oft renew'd
The desperate conflict : there the Prussian stood.
As Winter stern, and sleepless in his rage
Till from the throne was hurl'd that Tyrant of the Age.
There, with exulting glance, Bavaria came
To add fresh wreaths to her historic fame ;
The Saxon Powers from all their streams were there ;
High-hearted Hanover, in battle steeFd,
And Wurtemburg, still proud of Mont'reau's field,
Rush forward in the mortal game to share ;
Baden hath grasp'd her sword ; the sons of Hesse,
With the black bands of Brunswick, onward press ;
Tku^ mingle Jl tkeitarr^; in warfike glee^
The children of Almayne march'd on to victory !
So be it ever ! From the North and South,
From the bright Salza to the Weser's mouth,
Let them, beneath whatever stars, combine !
In holy league, in one fraternal band.
Princes and Nations of one Fatherland !
Swear friendship, on the sacred banks of Rhine —
Swear friendship, where the Danube's thunders roll !
Yes, there — where the Bavarian, high of soul.
Hath, in his temple of immortal Fame,
Shrined all the mighty dead of the Teutonic name !
Behold that pile ! A bright, a glorious thought.
Wrought out in marble — for all ages wrought,
Sternly sublime, imperishably strong !
As from the depths of Time, in holy air.
The Stars of your Renown are gathered there ;
So thither let your children's children throng.
To gaze upon their radiance, and to draw
Light from the Past ! There, with a pious awe,
Bless they the royal hand that rear d the dome.
And love their country more in this All-German Home !
Princes and Nations ! do your wide realms lie
Sleeping in peace beneath a friendly sky ?
Yet, while around you richer Plenty pours.
While Industry through all your cities shines.
More precious than the spoils of Eastern mines.
And Commerce wins her way to distant shores —
Yet watch upon your towers, yet bear your brands
Of old renown in true and stalwart hands ;
And be it in your memories graven deep —
" What your joint grasp regain'd, the same joint grasp
must keep ! "
Why do we counsel thee, thou brave Almayne ?
We saw — we knew thee — and our thoughts retain
A spell that wings kind wishes o'er the sea ;
Nay, memories of a hundred years entwine
The fortunes of these British realms with thine :
For in thy soil it grew, that Royal Tree,
Beneath whose gracious boughs this isle hath been
Like some Oasis of the South, serene
And bright within its pale, while all around
O'er many a bleeding land the tempests were unbound.
Nor to the annals of an age bygone
Need we return : ev'n now upon the throne,
A daughter of that high-sprung Guelphic line
Maintains the lustre of her fathers' fame.
And England's honour, 'mid the world's acclaim.
On land and flood, where'er the daybeams shine !
And long, long may She grace that lofty sphere.
Rich in the virtues that her race endear
To each true British breast, and bind anew
The time-stamp'd sympathies that from our sires we drew !
And in these days when China's dragon-crest.
Stooping its pride, our prowess hath confess'd ;
When fierce Cabool hath yielded to our thunder.
And startled Echo of our glory speaks
From Indus' banks to Himmalaya's peaks,
Till all the Golden East looks pale with wonder ;
Now, in this moment of victorious glee,
Thou old Almayne ! well may we turn to thee.
Whose name with ours has been in triumph seaf d,
Over a sterner foe, and on a bloodier field !
It stands above that stream of Time, whose wave
Hath, long ago, swept to Oblivion's grave
So many pageants famous in their hour —
Brothers in arms ! above that stream of Time
Blenheim still stands, in its old pomp sublime.
Eternal record of your valorous power :
Brothers in arms ! another name shines bright
With the best honours of a well-won fight ;
Grim Waterloo beheld your flags combined.
And your associate swords with fadeless laurels twined.
My theme hath had its hour. The numbers die,
The wild peals of that warlike symphony,
With all their wakening spells, have past away ;
Again I gaze upon Saint Vincent's height.
And the full Avon sweeps before my sight,
A moment lit by the departing Day :
And yonder, in the radiance faintly streaming,
I see the Severn's prouder billows gleaming,
And now far spreads, reflected from the West,
A line of dusky red on Cambria's mountain-crest.
A day of gloomy stillness ! Far and wide,
Like a black curtain o'er the Avon s tide,
From noon till vesper hour, the vapours hung ;
And not a breeze was on that sable river.
And scarce a sapling's leaf was seen to quiver ;
O'er all the scene a wizard spell seem'd flung,
From this deep bank unto the mountain's brow.
So strangely tranquil in its gloom ! — till now
A fluttering wind arose, a sunbeam fell.
As if the mournful Day would bid a brief farewell !
Yet let me muse beneath thy cloudy w^ing,
Thou stern November ! The soft looks of Sprin
Outbursting into bloom, are all too bright
With promise, and the Future breathes alone
In the fair buds with which her paths are strown
The gorgeous Summer, with her stainless light
Pouring in floods, like gold without alloy,
Calls us to grasp at every Present joy;
To roam unfetter'd over land and sea.
And revel in the blaze of Nature's jubilee.
But thou, O Autumn ! with thy skies o'ercast,
And scattered leaves, and melancholy blast —
Thy realm of thought is of the years bygone !
And all around congenial with the hour.
And that slow stream, rolling its gloomy power.
Hath sweird thine influence with its heavy moan ;
Till I have dwelt on long-forgotten themes,
Or, it may be, on days of brighter dreams,
When Earth, unveil'd before me in her sheen.
Tempted my willing feet through many a flow^y scene.
And now — farewell, farewell ! Let not this strain,
Sons of the Teuton race ! be pour'd in vain,
.Though harsh, and rude, and sounding from afar ;
Let not the lesson of that age be lost.
When o\\ tkc X\A^4 Almayne was tempest-tost,
On the foul tides of an unnatural war ;
What time your sires with frozen hearts looked on.
And saw their brethren in the strife undone ;
What time your sires, with base ambition fired,
Against their Fatherland with open foes conspired !
Better and happier now : yet oft in this,
Your halcyon hour — if ye would feel your bliss —
Call those black Memories from their frightful caves !
And if the Minstrel, with no painted zeal.
Hath struck his harp, unwonted, for your weal.
Be his the meed^when on the Rhine's blue waves
Propitious winds once more his sails shall fill —
Be his the meed, to see your legions still
With friendly banners side by side unfurled —
Firm in Confederate strength — and in yourselves a world !
And in Cologne's thrice venerable pile
Shall not the pensive pilgrim rest awhile ?
Yes, where a faint yet rosy light is flung
'Midst those majestic columns, he shall pause.
And think how there, strong in a holy cause.
The words of Wisdom and Benevolence rung ;
Words that beyond those aisles and hoary walls
Find echoes, wheresoe'er the sunbeam falls.
In the true bosom that loves Peace, and knows
That Almayne's well-knit power binds Europe in repose,
THE CASTLE OF HEIDELBERG.
Elizabeth of England ! Young and fair,
Here dwelt she with the princely Palatine,
Lord of the Neckar and the nobler Rhine,
A beauteous realm, and rich beyond compare :
And still yon column stones the cipher bear
Of that dear name, with foliage of the vine
And myrtle all enwreath'd, as if in sign
That Love encircled her with ceaseless care !
Yet not forgetful did her spirit rest
Of the fair land where she beheld the day ;
To Thames's banks her thoughts would often stray.
And Windsor s regal towers ; while in her breast
A deep Voice whisper d — " There, athwart the main,
" Thy children's children shall in glory reign ! "
A STORM IN A FOREST.
How the pines bend around me ! How the blast
Pours, in its fury, from those desert hills !
How its deep sound, like mournful music, fills
My soul with visions of the spectral Past :
Ev'n till I fancy, while I shrink aghast,
That the Wild Huntsman, with the clamorous yells
Of his unearthly pack, the chorus swells ;
Or Odin, rushing from his caves, to cast
The spear of strife into a shuddering world !
Spirits of Darkness ! from the dread Abyss
Well may ye wake, and watch, in hour like this —
It seems as if th* Archangel's trump on high
Rung in the storm, and that terrific sky
Hangs like the banner of God's Wrath unfurFd !
Let him who sighs for health, or seeks to please
His eyes with Nature's beauty — let him stray
Along the Bergstrass' in the bloom of May ;
Now while the skies are cloudless, and the breeze
Rich with the odours of ten thousand trees j
While music seems to pour from every spray,
And the glad children that around us play,
Lend to the air yet sweeter melodies.
The voice of innocent glee, the silvery laugh !
Yes, let him wander here — and he shall find
Health in each whisper of the balmy wind ;
Yes, let him gaze on this fair scene, and quaff
The lustre that from heaven comes sparkling bright —
Till his soul freshens in the blessed light !
MINDEN m WESTPHALIA.
Thy fame, O Minden ! in the days of yore,
Hung on thy mighty battles, lost and won ;
Thy valleys oft were clothed in war-clouds dun,
Thy hills re-echoed to the cannon's roar;
And well remember'd was the oak-tree hoar,
The cross, or sculptured stone, that told the son
Where his sire fell, or where some deed was done
Which brave men deem'd should live for evermore !
Now do thine echoes wake to sounds less wild —
Thy glory is in gardens, fruits, and flowers,
'Midst which thy children lose life's careless hours
In gentle pastime, by no teai's defiled ;
Lilies are there, and roses with rich breath.
To charm away all memories of Death !
THE CASTLE OF SALZBURG.
Dost thou love Nature in her mountain-bloom?
Climb Salzburg's towers upon their stately height,
And gaze and own that never to thy sight
Did summer sun a fairer land illume !
Would'st thou a dream of Horror s blackest gloom ?
Then seek that chamber, where, in days of Eld,
Her iron stance th' accursed Maiden held,
To crush the victims of tyrannic doom —
There, in thy fancy, shalt thou see their limbs
Mangled and drench'd in blood : the shriek of fear,
The mortal groan seems ringing in thine ear.
Till all the scene around thee darkling swims ;
And thou dost rush back to the light of day,
And bless kind Heaven — those times have past away !
WILHELM AND BERTHA.
They loved — but not beneath a star benign ;
They ia v : J the more, though all grew dark around,
And the rude world upon their union frown'd :
O hapltL.: pair! 'twas wandering by the Rhine —
'Twas near yon cot, half cover'd with its vine —
There would they rest; there simple flowers they found,
And wove them chaplets, and each other crown'd
In playful mirth — a light not long to shine ! —
For, while she bent to pluck a wilding rose,
Lo, the damp sod betray'd her on the bank :
He sprung to save, as in the flood she sank —
A moment seen — the waters o'er them close !
Blest in their early graves ! Their love had known
The w^orld's cold breath — no withering of its own !
MERAN IN THE TYROL.
Fair Valley of Meran ! so freshly green
With all thy sparkling rills, and the clear waves
Of the young Etsch, rejoicing as he laves
Thy pastures, glancing through his leafy screen —
Fair Valley ! by the Alps enclosed serene,
So sheltered seem'st thou from each storm that raves
In the throng'd haunts of life — the Poet craves
No sweeter home, of all that he hath seen !
Yea, as he gazes round him, oft there press
Thoughts on his heart that almost call for tears ;
Thoughts of the days consumed, and months, and years,
In the far World's tumultuous wilderness ;
While here he might have found for Sorrow balm.
And nobler themes in Nature's blessed calm.
THE IRRUPTION INTO ITALY OF CONRAD (OR CONRADIN)
He came with cavaliers of high renown,
With warriors that might set the world on flame —
The blue-eyed Conrad from his mountains came,
Like torrent in the sunlight rushing down !
What generous heart on his career could frown ?
He rose, his fathers' heritage to claim ;
The light that led him on — his fathers' fame ;
And the stars promised all his hopes to crown —
Alas ! and what avails how more than well
He fought, O Liris ! on thy blood-stain'd banks ?
Or how his young arm, 'mid the serried ranks
Of merciless Anjou, outwearied, fell?
When the day broke, a sovereign — ere its close,
A foredoom'd captive, 'midst insulting foes !
THE DEATH OF CONEAD AT NAPLES.
There is a gloom that falls not from the sky,
Yet heavy seems it, as if Wrath Divine
Hung on the clouds with many a fearful sign ;
Thousands are there who look with lowering eye
On the black pageant ; yea, his foemen sigh,
And deem their knightly fame hath lost its shine.
As Conrad — last of an Imperial line —
The brave, the beautiful, comes forth to die ! —
But on thy throne, begirt with Gallic spears.
Thou thrice-curst tyrant of Anjou ! the blood
Of Caesars and of kings melts not thy mood.
Nor youth's fair tresses, nor a mother's tears :
High gleam'd the axe — and, with its downward sway.
The hope of many nations pass'd away !
THE CATHEDRAL OF MttAN.
Strange are the wanderings of our thoughts ! Behold
This roof with countless spires of marble white,
This forest of fair pinnacles, all bright
'Gainst the blue sky, and tipt with sunny gold —
Is it not lovely ? Shall the wide earth hold
Many such marvels for thy longing sight ?
Is it not worthy of this realm of light,
Where Art hath dreams that seem fromHeaven unroll'd?
And yet — for such are Fancy's wayward freaks —
Here on my soul an Arctic desert rose;
Of the sun's glare on everlasting snows,
And icebergs with their cold fantastic peaks,
I dreamt — till I forgot the summer smile
Of Italy — and this thrice noble pile !
FLORENCE.— (FIEENZE LA BELLA.)
We paused upon the hill — before us lay
Fair Florence, 'neath the Appenine reclining
In her sweet valley — with the Arno twining
Among majestic piles its lustrous way :
The antique walls and hoary towers look'd gay,
The Dome's huge pride was in the sunlight shining,
And, all around. Nature and Art combining
To deck this bright flower of the Tuscan sway
With richer tints of beauty ! In delight
We gazed, and thought how many a year had roU'd,
How many an age, since first th' Etrurian bold
Planted the Lily* in that favour d site —
Long ages ! and we breathed the genial air.
Nor marvelFd she had grown so passing fair !
* Tlie well-known cognizance cf Florence.
THE SAIVIE SUBJECT CONTINUED.
Yet, Florence, they shall greatly err who deem
That thou, rejoicing in thy valley bright,
Hast slept the slumber of the Sybarite :
How soon did Commerce wake by Arno's stream,
While the dim North lay in a frozen dream !
How soon flash'd Learning on the Tuscan's sight
From fallen Byzantium ! In thy wildest night
Of strife and blood, high names upon us beam,
Like planet-stars whose influence sways our sphere :
And now, with rays renewed, thy glories shine
'Neath the mild sceptre of Lorraine's high line ;
Still worthy of their sires thy sons appear,
Ev'n of the land where Angelo had birth.
And Galileo drew the stars to earth.
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF FLORENCE.
Is the land lovely ? Are the skies serene ?
Not vainly Heaven its precious dews distills,
Plenty her golden cup not vainly fills ;
For no dark spirits, of ungrateful mien.
Expands the wealth and luxury of the scene !
A thousand villas look down from the hills
With white walls glittering ; the brave peasant tills
His fields in joy; and where the woods are green,
Where trellised vines with richer clusters swell.
Or fig-tree spreads her verdurous arms around.
Ye hear the voice of song, or music, sound
Through the light shade. The Tuscan loves to dwell
'Mid Nature's beauties ; and majestic Power
Extends her smiles unto the humblest bower.
PARIS— PLACE DE LA REVOLUTION.
Sons of the Gaul ! was this the mournful stage,
Where, scorning in the madness of your schemes
All that the loyal heart most sacred deems,
With blood of kings ye did affright the age ?
Sons of the Gaul ! in your convulsive rage,
Did ye pour armies forth like fiery streams,
Those steel-clad neophytes whose glowing dreams
Conquest and carnage could alone assuage ?
O Heavenly Justice ! They whose hearths afar
Ye had profaned — through many a battle-plain
They hew'd their way, in slaughter, to the Seine;
Here blazed their banners of victorious war ;
And France, who slew her Chief, stood by the while,
And bent, to stranger kings, with deprecating smile.
THE SEA AT GENOA.
What are thy streets and marble domes to me.
With all their monuments of other days,
Proud City of the Dorias ? Let me gaze
Rather, in solitude, upon the Sea
That, 'neath this brilliant sky, spreads fair and free ;
For now, while to my fancy it displays
Its billows sleeping in the golden blaze.
Or rolling, if they roll, rejoicingly, —
Now, like Ulysses' son, athwart the wave
I wander — in the vessel of my dreams —
To islands where eternal summer beams,
To palace grots, which crystal fountains lave ;
Where splendours, scarce of Earth, around me shine,
And aspects of a beauty half divine !
TO THE ARCHDUKE FREDERICK OF AUSTRIA.
Son of a dauntless chief and warlike strain !
Ever they fought on land, thy princely sires ;
They won their laurels 'mid th' artillery's fires,
Where struggling thousands wheel'd o'er hill and plain :
But thy young valour, other wreaths to gain.
And on another element, aspires ;
And Ocean, yielding to thy bold desires,
Hath borne thee to the battle : — not in vain—
For laurels, and of deathless bloom, were thine.
When raged thy cannon o'er the Syrian wave,
And high thy banner shone amongst the brave
Who burst the iron yoke of Palestine :
Britannia hails such warriors with delight.
Placid in peace, but foremost in the fight.
A M A L F I.
If Nature be one mighty instrument
To touch the springs of the uncultur'd mind ;
If the smooth vale, fann'd by the Southern wind,
Invites the wanderer there to pitch his tent,
And plough a grateful soil; if streams were sent,
And rushing rivers, that the brave might find
A pathway to the ocean ; if the hind.
In rocks up-piled or by an earthquake rent.
Sees the rude model of a fane or tower —
Then, O Amalfi ! unto thee by Heaven
Thy wild sweet beauty as a charm was given,
To wake the genius of pictorial power ;
Thy fairy shores, glass'd in that glittering wave,
We long to paint — and in our hearts engrave !
TO A LADY.
Since first we met — 'tis long and many a day —
Life in its light and shadow have we seen ;
And yet our friendship like a tree hath been,
Nor shook by storms, nor sapp'd by slow decay :
Or like a stream, that ever on its way
Grows to a fuller tide — nor lacks sweet flowers,
Borne from its earlier track, in sunny hours —
Nay, still rejoices in a brighter ray
To gild its course ! Yes, and though Memory swell
With some deep echoes, and of funeral tone, —
Now that the sharper pang of grief is gone,
They seem like accents of some kind farewell,
Tiiat mingles past delight with loftier hope.
And gives the pensive mind eternal scope !
ON THE WAR IN SYRIA— 1840.
Say'st thou, O base of heart, and false of tongue,
Say'st thou our British valour hath declined ?
Breathe not thy slanders to the Syrian wind.
Nor where on Syrian walls our thunders rung !
For though, amid War's brightest trophies hung
In that old land, is Richard's name enshrined,
And his who, in a later day, confined
The Gallic deluge that from Egypt flung
Its fierce waves to the Orient — yet, again.
See England's banner upon Acre's towers ;
See the keen Arab, with his dusky powers.
Driven in despair athwart the desert plain ;
And, as thou treads't the liberated shore,
Own that no braver deed was done in days of yore!
MONT-ROSA FROM THE LAKE OF LOCARNO.
'Tis sweet to sail upon Locarno's lake,
Its glassy waters gleaming in rich light,
Its banks Elysian, where 'mid all things bright
Thy soul its thirst of beauty well may slake —
Yet lift thine eye ! and let new thoughts awake !
Behold Mont-Rosa's most gigantic height
Rise o'er the clouds — a mass of stainless white,
That, like a vision, seems from Heaven to break !
Yes, lucid is the lake, and passing gay
The shore, bedeck'd with many a pleasant bower ; —
But that dread symbol of Eternal Power,
That wondrous Mountain ! — Gaze, and thou wilt say,
" Though fair the objects of our earthly love,
" A something greater, nobler, shines above ! "
Holy Sisters ! give the noble dead
In your deep vaults to repose !
I would linger till each prayer be said,
Till the marble o'er them close ;
Then in a dim cell shroud me from the day —
All that I loved on earth hath past away !
I was happy — happy ! Brighter home
Was there none in fair Belgrade ;
And mine own Belov'd had vowM to come,
Ere the summer flowers should fade,
To claim my hand — I read the line with tears,
But not of grief — I dreamt of golden years !
Yestermorn rose all in light array'd —
Seem'd my life without a cloud !
Yestermorn, to Moslem spears betray 'd,
Found my Sire a bloody shroud —
Betray 'd, yet bravely, in Koreschin's dell.
With sword in hand for Servians cause he fell.
Truce and Peace were in the Pacha's mouth,
(Such the treacherous Moslem crew !)
Till his new-rais'd legions from the South
Round that rocky dell he drew ;
Then, broken every word and pledge, the brave
Died in a den where Valour could not save.
It was strange — my Mother did not weep
When the fearful tale was told ;
Silent sate she, but with anguish deep
In her parch'd heart's inmost fold ;
She sate with downcast eyes, and fix'd in gloom,
As if she look'd into a yawning tomb !
Once she woke as from a trance, and wild
Were her accents of despair —
" Seek, Oh seek thy Father's corse, my child !
" Wolf and eagle revel tfm^e I
" Let his dust lie — and mingle with it mine —
" Where sleep his sires, by Blessed Mary's shrine."
'Twas at noon the heavy news was borne :
When the slow declining Day
Flung a sudden glare, as if in scorn
Of the grief that on us lay,
Into our silent chamber, — then, once more.
She look'd, and wrung my hand — and all was o'er.
But away — I tore me from her side,
While the maidens trimm'd her bier ;
On that field, with Servia's best blood dyed,
I would seek those relies dear !
I hurried through the woods — the high Belgrade
Soon sank behind me in the evening shade.
The good Gabor, — he, of silvery hair, —
Ever faithful to his chief,
Follow'd with his boys, my task to share :
Maim'd in war, and sunk in grief,
Yet would he drag his limbs to that last field,
With quivering torch, and sword he scarce could wield.
Oh, the night was strangely dark and drear,
Though by fits the moonbeam fell ! —
Seem'd the slow clouds fix'd in their career
O'er Koreschin's narrow dell.
Where wild and high the battle-storm had roll'd —
Now^ like a funeral vault, so still and cold !
Yet a heavier, heavier cloud was flung
O'er me, as I hurried on ;
Trees and rocks, like mournful spectres, hung
From their dim heights looking down —
I hurried on, with mine eyes rais'd to heaven.
Though not a beam to guide my steps was given.
But I fear d to watch the torch's glare,
Wavering through those shadows deep :
There they lay — the slaughtered dead lay there
In their dark and frozen sleep !
I saw — I stood aghast — I stood to pray —
I could not kneel on that discoloured clay.
There were sights — such as might craze the brain —
Shroud them, shroud them from my view ! —
On the upturn'd faces of the slain
Hovering lights, of changeful hue,
That scarcely were of Earth — 'twas nor the gleam
Of Gabor s torch, nor yet a stray moonbeam !
I had widely sought, and wept, and pray'd,
And my limbs were worn with toil.
When, at last, by good Saint Mary's aid,
Found we, in that crimson soil,
As 'twere half buried — where th' Albanian horse
Had urged their hottest charge — my Father's corse !
Sisters ! they had severed his right hand,
That my head so oft caress'd ;
Sisters ! they had plunged his broken brand,
Deep and ghastly, in that breast
Where I had lain of old, with girlish wile,
And look'd up in his face to win a smile.
Shade of mighty Scanderberg ! were those
Children of thy generous race ?
Oh, the barbarous swords, the craven foes,
Thus his relics to deface
Whose valour made them pale with fear — whose
Rung in their ears on every blast of Fame !
Do ye weep for me ? 'Twas not yet past ;
On my young head Heaven would pour
Trials, sorrows, darkening to the last —
Night of gloom ! for evermore
Graven upon my heart — m.ay Reason hold
Until my tale of double grief be told !
As they slowly drew the corse away,
And would place it on a bier,
Shook the flickering torch a sudden ray
On another that lay near ;
A youthful form it seem'd — besmear'd the face
C f battle toil bore many a bloody trace.
Yet those unclosed eyes, methought I knew,
And the brow with black hair bound —
My Betrothed ! 'twas he — how damp the dew
On that noble head I found !
'Tvvas he — cold, cold in death ! A deep gash show'd.
Amid his locks, where forth his life had flow'd.
Oh, I deem'd that, from our feuds afar,
Past his days where wild woods wave
O'er the stately towers of Temischvar I
He had rush'd — the young, the brave.
To battle by my Father s side — and I
Knew not the hour — with him to live or die !
Through the dull thick air a distant bell
Rung, as on the earth I lay ;
Still it rung, and rung, with heavier knell,
Till its deep voice seem'd to say,
" Bear them to holy ground — let them be blest
Beneath the shadow of the Cross to rest ! "
Lo, I bring with me the dead — all, all
That of love in life was mine —
Hidden there, beneath that sable pall !
Lay them by the Virgin's shrine.
And sing ye masses for their souls, to whom
The murderous War hath brought so swift a doom !
Sisters ! when their knell is rung, and low
In those hoary vaults they lie.
Sun in heaven for me shall never glow.
Nor the green earth glad mine eye —
Oh, pray for one forlorn, upon whose woes
Your iron gates shall then forever close !
VERSES TO A LADY,
SEEING HEE PORTKAIT.
Thou should'st have worn, in Caesar's halls of state,
Proudest of diadems.
Richest of orient gems ;
While, bending each his golden crest.
Barbaric kings thy power confest,
And to that lofty brow look'd for the signs of Fate.
Thou should'st have sate, a crown'd and sceptred Queen,
Where in the listed field
Glittered the lance and shield ;
Where gallant knights and nobles strove,
And princes bled, to win thy love ;
But thou, above the strife, in majesty serene.
Or in the splendours of Versailles the Proud,
When that thrice gorgeous King
Ransacked the earth to bring
All that it held of fair, or bright,
To shine in his transcendent light —
Thou should'sthave led the way amid the dazzling crowd.
But no — but no — such scenes were not for thee 1
For clouds of guilt and gloom
Hung o'er th' imperial Rome ;
The chance of sword and spear, blood-stain' d,
A heart like thine had well disdain'd ;
And corrupt was Versailles — a gilded infamy !
I know it, Lady ! thou would'st have disown'd
Whate'er, with sin and strife,
Obscures the Light of Life ;
I know it — in thy deep blue eyes
The lustre of Benevolence lies.
And on that regal brow sits Purity enthron'd !
THE LOED OF LIEBENSTEIN.
Welcome, my native halls, again.
And the woods of Liebenstein !
There's nought so fair in wide Almayne
As our own land by the Rhine !
The cloud upon my soul was black
When I went with sword and spear ;
I come in joy, in triumph, back
To a home now doublv dear.
I threw me on my battle-horse —
From the bowers of Liebenstein
My bride was torn by fraud and force,
On the day that made her mine !
A scream was heard, and forms were seen,
Hidden in the forest soon ;
And she was gone, whose smiles had been
All I loved beneath the moon.
I rode away, I rode in haste —
Noble steed of Liebenstein,
O'er hill and dale, through wood and waste,
Ne'er before such speed was thine !
Her brother — he, the faithless knight ! —
Stole my bride, to save her dower ;
I reck'd not of his guldens bright,
But my life had lost its flower.
I traced her to his lonesome towers,
(Far away from Liebenstein)
Where the Black Forest sternly lowers
On the Neckar s silver line :
I stood — I gazed — dark rose above
Hill, and rock, and rampart grim ;
But for my guide I had true Love —
Every door must ope to him !
In priestly robes I past the fosse,
I, the Lord of Liebenstein !
At the great gate I show'd the cross,
Bent the serfs and own'd the sign.
I reached the hall, I reach'd the dais,
Where Sir Manfred sate in pride,
The red wine flashing in the blaze,
Count and Baron by his side.
*' Peace," said I, " on this mansion rest !"
But the blood of Liebenstein
So wildly boiFd within my breast,
111 I play'd the meek divine !
For Manfred there, in revel wild,
Laugh'd aloLid in that bright room,
While captive lay his father's child
In her bower of grief and gloom.
Then the false robes that hid the shield
And the sword of Liebenstein,
I flung aside, and stood reveal'd
There in torch and taper's shine.
" My glove is on the floor," I cried —
" Witness, knights and nobles all !
" I bid Sir Manfred yield my bride,
" Yield at once— or fight, and fall ! "
I stood before them all, alone,
But my name is Liebenstein —
I'd brave the Kaiser on his throne
For such meed as then was mine !
Sir Manfred fiercely drew his blade,
Fiercely rush'd he to the strife ;
But erelong, on the pavement laid.
Faint and low, he sued for life.
I bade him live — but yield the fair,
The Beloved of Liebenstein ;
He led her forth in beauty there,
And we seal'd a truce with wine.
I went in grief — I come in glee —
Spread the feast, my vassals brave !
The bright Rhine's doubly bright to me.
Now my lo\e looks on its wave.
W. AKGLEIS, PEINTEB, BBIDGE STREET.